NHS Confederation responds to the King's Fund report on poverty taking a toll on UK's health and the NHS

Dr Layla McCay responds to the King's Fund report on poverty taking a toll on UK's health and the NHS

18 March 2024

Responding to the King's Fund report, which shows people living in poverty find it harder to live a healthy life, Dr Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation said:

“NHS leaders will be incredibly concerned by these stark findings and the analysis once again highlights the glaring preventable inequalities often found in the most deprived areas, proving more should be done to address the root causes of poverty.

“Health teams have strived against all odds in the most challenging times, and are continuing to make progress on NHS waiting lists, despite staff vacancy gaps and industrial action. However, health inequalities in England were already stark before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact of the rising cost-of-living crisis equals a national public health crisis and should not be overlooked or treated as the norm.

“Our cost of living hub spotlights some of the great work already being done by integrated care systems and their partners to mitigate the effects of the cost of living on health and the NHS. Integrated Care Systems recognise their role here, with the impacts of the cost of living featured in almost all Integrated Care strategies.

“Whilst there is a role to play for the NHS, there is also a key role for the government. The results highlighted in this report once again show what we have been calling for some time; that there needs to be a greater shift towards preventative health and care services which will save money in the long run, improve population health and reduce health inequalities.

“We also need to see further investment in long term planning and an increase in NHS capital spending to at least £14.1 billion annually, as well as an ongoing commitment to further funding for the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan and targeted investment in community care and health equity in all policies to help drive down national and local inequalities in health.”